Yesterday the National Bank of Kazakhstan devaluated the tenge by 25% from 120 to 150 tenge to the dollar. Officially. On the black market there were crazy rates up to 180 tenge to one dollar. One might think that it was a predictable trend and that Kazakhstan would sooner or later follow the devaluation of the Russian ruble. Yes, the story is very similar to Russia but way too extreme. In Russia the devaluation went gradually but in Kazakhstan everything was done by one step creating enormous panic...
An interesting fact, that just a couple of weeks ago, Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Bakhyt Sultanov had promised that the tenge would be devalued by less than 10% in 2009.
Personally I had a déjà vu from the Soviet times when I saw the empty shelves in the grocery store. The grocery store didn't sell some products, they simply took away them. Another big supermarket, opened 24 hours was literally invaded and people bought everything to spend their tenges before the prices went up. The stores selling electronics and electrical goods suddenly closed for a " re-calculation".
It was said, by the Kazakh officials, that the devaluation was necessary to boost the national economy and "support the local producers" and that the prices for the local products won't go up. The biggest lie ever:
1. The goods produced in Kazakhstan are marginal, most of the goods are imported.
2. The goods produced in Kazakhstan are made from and depend on the imported commodities.
3. The prices have already gone up.
Most of the people who get their salaries and pensions in tenge are 25% poorer today. The biggest losers are ordinary people, as usual.